Author: David C. Nutt

The newbie made his way through central supply.
“Why can’t I have a Prussian Blue exosuit?”
I rolled my eyes. “Because you can’t.”
The kid slapped the counter, my counter. “Unacceptable. You dissin’ me because I’m a noob?”
I smiled. “No. I am ‘dissin you’ because you’re an arrogant prick.” I could see the security agent, Mike Breslow, making his way over to my counter.”
“Any problem here Art?”
This is the part I loved, when the noob realized he had zero clout because he hadn’t earned it yet.
“Why no problem at all Officer Breslow. I was just getting ready to tell this shiny new recruit to the colonies why we do not issue the Prussian Blue.”
With all the practiced incredulity of a British Panto, Mike chimed in right on cue “Why do tell Citizen, I love to hear a good story!”
So I told it.
“Back in the day when all of us were noobs like you, Benny Lambert made his way to Mars. Benny and his Prussian Blue exosuit. There wasn’t anything Benny wouldn’t do for you, salt of the earth. Give up his seat at mess if it was too crowded, sing extra loud at church to cover your snoring cuz’ you pulled a double. Giving up some of his water because you were too stupid to bring enough. Benny was like that. Then, after we started excavating the lava tubes the worst of all possible happened. A reactor in the power room started to get all hinky. We evacuated but it needed to be shut down. Before anyone could do anything else, Benny was pushing in rods like it was pin ball. The last rod was somehow bent. When Benny pulled it out to re-insert it, it came all the way out. Couldn’t be put back in. Too radioactive to leave it where it was, so Benny ran into the tunnels. We watched him right up until he dropped the rod into the big hole, the one at least 12 miles deep, where we were throwing all our rubble. Genius move the physics and geology brainiacs said. But for Benny, it was too late. All that radiation. But just as Benny wasn’t one to be fussed over or complain, he saluted the cams, and ran down the tube, and that’s the last we saw him.
Then he started showing up.
A couple of homesteaders get their Doodlebug stuck and a guy in a Prussian Blue exosuit gets them un-stuck. When we domed over the canyon more than once the Prussian Blue was seen pulling someone out of a falling crane or a collapsing ledge. Then, one day we find Benny, or what’s left of him. The Prussian Blue exosuit. We crack it open and it’s empty.
But that doesn’t stop the sightings. Prussian Blue hits the evac alarm twenty minutes before a blow out in a dome- everybody gets out alive…even the pets. A survey team blown waaaaay off course in sandstorm, instruments busted, zero visibility. They see the Prussian Blue waving them to follow and before their air and water zero, they’re back in the habitat.”
The kid swallowed. “Ummm…I wanted one ‘cause it looked cool. A Prussian Blue guy stopped me from walking into an open shaft. I, ummm, whoa.”
The kid sat down.
I smiled and gave the kid his new suit. It was a sharp maroon with just enough scratches and dings so he wouldn’t get pegged as a noob right away. After all, if Benny wanted to cut him slack, who am I to argue?